Was it exercise, the group experience, or both of them together that helped women feel better while having treatment for early breast cancer? According to a study, it was probably BOTH.
The benefits of the group exercise classes were physical: better range of motion and less fatigue. And the benefits were also psychological: less depression and a more positive outlook on life. Exercising alone could probably offer the same benefits for any woman undergoing breast cancer treatment (providing she can safely exercise).
In this study, the exercise was moderately intense, three to five days per week. This might seem like a lot, even if you're healthy. When you're getting treatment for breast cancer, side effects may make it even harder to start and stick with any exercise routine. Being in a group class and having an exercise specialist to motivate and support them probably helped the women in this study stick with exercising. It's great to know that the women were still getting the benefits of the exercise class six months after the program started.
If you're getting breast cancer treatment, try to make exercise (and a healthy diet) part of your daily routine. Think of exercise and a healthy diet as another important part of your treatment plan that helps you recover and stay healthy. Talk to your doctor about how much and how often you should exercise. Ask around and see if any breast cancer support groups near you have organized exercise classes. If you can't find an exercise class through a breast cancer support group, think about joining another exercise class. There's a good chance the class might be able to give you the motivation and support to make regular exercise part of your treatment and recovery. Find the right exercise routine for YOU and then do your best to stick with it! It can make a difference both physically and mentally, today and tomorrow.